Cull open replacement heifers early after the breeding season

  • Published: Tuesday, May 11, 2021

As the breeding season ends decisions need to be made about open replacement heifers. Open replacement heifers should be culled after the breeding season to maintain optimum herd reproductive efficiency.  A University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Bulletin reported that heifers that fail to become pregnant in their first breeding season and are held over have an 55% average lifetime calf crop.  Furthermore, heifer herd mates that became pregnant in their first breeding season have an 86% average lifetime calf crop.  I suggest culling open heifers after the first breeding season to promote optimum herd reproductive efficiency.

Culling open replacement heifers early after the breeding season is important to receive optimum salvage value.  Heifers that enter their first breeding season at approximately 14 month and determined open at approximately 18 months can still be fed and marketed to meet the choice grade.  However, if there is delay in marketing those open heifers, value may be reduced due to their inability to be fed to meet the choice grade.  I suggest pregnancy checking replacement heifers approximately 60 days after the breeding season and culling open heifers to receive optimum salvage value and promote optimum operation profitability.

For more information related to early pregnancy checking and culling open replacement heifers contact your local MU Extension Regional Livestock Field Specialist.      

Writer: Patrick Davis

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